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Opinions of Thursday, 20 October 2016

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Why are Voltarians leaving Rawlings to his fate?

It is quite strange that those ungrateful cabals in the NDC Party could go to an extreme length of plotting evil against the very person whose brainchild (NDC Party) has made them ‘somebody’.

It should not, therefore, be surprising that President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks have turned their backs on Ghanaian voters after helping them to get to power.

“Former President Jerry John Rawlings is not happy with elements in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who are allegedly baying for his blood.

“He is surprised that recent attacks on him have been orchestrated by people within the NDC, the party he founded.

“The ex-President cited the recent petition presented by the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) leader, Henry Lartey to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) asking them to investigate circumstances under which he (Mr Rawlings) reportedly received an amount of $5 million from the late Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha, as gift in 1998.

“Mr Rawlings says his own people in the NDC are behind the ploy to sully his hard-won reputation” (See: ‘$5m Abacha cash, NDC chasing me-says Rawlings’; dailyguideafrica.com, 18/10/2016).

In fact, am not least surprised that some elements in the NDC Party could go to an extent of bringing the name of their party founder into disrepute. After all, hasn’t the party General Secretary Asiedu Nketsia, called Rawlings a barking dog?

Besides, Haven’t the NDC’s boisterous brats who are not privy to their party’s history been upbraiding Rawlings all the time for expressing his grievances over the rot in his party?

In so far as I am not a fun of Rawlings, I do not think the man deserves all those effusions from the members of the party he worked strenuously to bring to existence.

The short history of NDC Party
On 15th May 1979, a group of disgruntled junior army officers led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings failed in their insurrection against General Fred Akuffo’s regime, which culminated in the arrest and trial of Rawlings.

However, a group of army officers who happened to be Rawlings’s apologists revolted on 4th June 1979 broke jail and released Rawlings and his cohorts.

After successfully deposing General Akuffo and his Supreme Military Council (SMC) government, the mutinous officers went ahead and formed their own government, which they called as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and appointed Flt. Rawlings as their chairman.

Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters vowed to lustrate the country of the rampant sleaze, corruption and social injustices which instigated their coup d’état.

So in their attempt to purge the country of the perceived injustices, they carried out what they termed “house cleaning exercise”,--they dealt with perceived offenders arbitrarily.

The cabals proceeded with their intentions and callously murdered prominent people including General Fred Akuffo, General Kutu Acheampong, General Akwasi Afrifa and many others.

After getting rid of those they saw as threat to their hidden agenda, they decided to conduct general elections for political parties in the same year-1979.

Following the successful conduction of general elections, Dr Hilla Limann and his People’s National Party (PNP) emerged victorious in 1979.

Nevertheless, Rawlings and his cohorts did not give Dr Liman the opportunity to carry out his mandated responsibility. For Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters unfairly kept criticising Dr Limann’s administration for what they perceived as economic mismanagement, until he, Rawlings, decided to depose Dr Limann.

And to fulfil his lifetime ambition of becoming the head of state, J.J Rawlings and some obstreperous army officers took arms and succeeded in overthrowing the constitutionally elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981.

Rawlings subsequently formed a government which he called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed himself as the chairman.

Although the PNDC government boasted some seasoned politicians, the vast majority of the military personnel who headed the core Ministries were novices in the political terrain.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the PNDC regime back then, adopted a seemingly disastrous Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), which was introduced under the auspices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a way, the apparent unfavourable Economic Recovery Programme culminated in a catalogue of hardships. And on top of the harsh policies which threatened the economic fundamentals, the population had to clutch itself for food shortages, a situation which the world press somehow ignored in favour of the concurrent Ethiopian famine that resulted in millions of deaths.

But then again, perhaps, the 1983 famine was comparable to that of the Ethiopian famine back then. Nevertheless, Ghana’s famine was not hyperbolised by the global media.

In a way, both Ghana and Ethiopia were back then ruled by uncompliant military dictatorships that looked on cluelessly and somehow unperturbed whilst the citizens endured widespread hunger.

And, as food shortages escalated in Ghana, some traders started creating artificial shortages of goods by hoarding them so as to charge exorbitant prices at a later time.

And in his weird attempt to get rid of sleaze and corruption, many Ghanaians were unjustifiably murdered or tortured mercilessly for apparent infinitesimal offences.

Regrettably, however, some market women were stripped naked in the public and whipped for either hauling their products or selling on high prices. While their male counterparts were shaved with broken bottles and whipped for offences that would not even warrant a Police caution in a civilized society.

As if that was not enough, three eminent high court judges and a prominent army officer were barbarically murdered by PNDC apple-polishers on 30th June 1982 for carrying out their constitutionally mandated duties.

The PNDC apologists savagely murdered the three eminent high court judges because their judgement did not go in their favour.

Even though Rawlings supplanted power under the pretext of acting as a peripheral Panacea, he spent a little over eleven years before lifting the ban on political parties in 1992.

As a matter of fact, Rawlings succumbed to the internal and external political pressures for him to step down and allow multi-party democracy.

Subsequently, he lifted the ban on political parties in 1992 and resigned from the military simultaneously and put himself forward for election.

Following his retirement from the military, Rawlings went ahead and formed a political party, which he named as the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a progeny of PNDC.

Unsurprisingly, his country men and women (Voltarians) gave him a massive support in both the 1992 and 1996 general elections. He subsequently ruled for eight more years and retired in 2001, as directed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.

To state that Voltarians love Rawlings to bits is understatement, so to speak.

So, the all-important question then is: why have Voltarians left their darling boy Rawlings to his own fate?

I suggest they should protest against all the needless attacks on someone they cherished so much.

And, if those gratuitous attacks persist, they should seek to ‘teach’ the loudmouthed NDC apparatchiks a big lesson by voting against them in the forthcoming general elections.